Month: November 2014
It is a fine, warm and shiny Saturday afternoon. At Birdnest Resturant, by Maqalika dam about five kilo meters north of Maseru city, here guys have gathered at the joint not only to enjoy good music, but also to relax while having trout fish braai.
“This is the beginning and we have planned to hold it often,” said Keketso Lawrence, a chef and one of the restaurant management staff.
According to Lawrence Birdnest has a long term plan to develop today’s trout fish braai to an annual event.
For many people in Lesotho, fish does not form part of a common meal. In fact Basotho, the people of Lesotho are not fish eaters.
However, with one year experience of selling trout, Birdnest staff is confident that trout fish’s taste is enjoyable to many of their customers.
Though situated about five kilometres north of the Maseru, Birdnest has been receiving orders from all the parts of the city. They deliver trout fish for lunch to many offices in the city daily.
Trout fish in Lesotho is produced at Ha Lejone, at the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Katse Dam about 200 kilometers from Maseru and it is mostly exported to neighbouring Republic of South Africa.
Trout fish demand is becoming higher daily in Maseru and it costs about M68 (US$ 6.8) a kilogram, making it a very prestigious meal.
Although it is very difficult to get, trout fish, Birdnest is adamant that it should form their brand.
Maseru – The 10th Chief Executive of the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) Kelebone Leisanyane was unveiled to the media today in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho, to assume duties from a Caretaker Chief Executive.
In an exclusive interview with newsline365.wordpress.com at the headquarters of the government owned investment’s corporation, Leisanyane said he intends to increase investment promotion operations of the parastatal.
“For many years up to now, the corporation’s emphasis has been on investment in textile and garment sectors which are a large employer. We should now diversify and explore into agro-industry in which an ordinary Mosotho can contribute,” said Leisanyane.
Explaining that agro-industry was his passion, Leisanaynae who is armed with a 30 year experience in private sector, said there was a need to also tap into import substitution to allow local products to dominate the market in order to benefit the people.
Leisanyane, the 10th chief executive, of the 47 year-old LNDC starts his new role in December 01st 2014 after with a local bricks producing Loti Brick for eight years, as its Managing Director. He has been appointed by the LNDC board with the approval of the minister of trade, cooperatives and marketing.
During the unveiling of the new boss, the Caretaker Chief Executive Tseko Bohloa narrated a string of success achieved by the corporation, saying it has invested in infrastructure in the form of commercial and industrial buildings.
“We have gone through a process for introspection to adapt to new ethos that places us at the centre of high standard of service delivery,” he revealed at the media briefing.
He suggested that any limitations in infrastructure development would be remedied by a private-public sector participation model which would attract new funding sources.
On financial products he revealed the LNDC, which generates around M50 million annually, has already agreed with the London listed company Obtala for optimising the running of Basotho Canners, a LNDC wholly owned subsidiary firm specialising in canning local fruits.
It also plans to increase Katse dam trout fish farming development initiative, added Bohloa who represented the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the LNDC board.
According to Bohloa the corporation offers a partial credit guarantee scheme of up to 50 per cent credit finance provided by the banks. The scheme, according to Bohloa, has taken off well as it is now at 65 per cent utilisation on guarantee limit of M10 million.
Maseru- A fraud case of the former minister of Finance and Development Planning Dr. Timothy Thahane was postponed to 1-5 June 2015.
Justice Monaphathi decided the case be heard on these dates after a lengthy plea by the accused legal team led by South Africa’s Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC who sought sufficient time to “sufficiently prepare for good representation of his client.”
Advocate Sefako Seema of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) told newsline365.wordpress.com on Wednesday that the prosecution was willing to see the case proceed on earlier stipulated dates of November 26-28 and December 2-3 this year.
“All what the prosecution wanted was to see the case proceeding yesterday, today and tomorrow (Friday). But we will abide by the judge’s decision as it aims to achieve fair trial. We can’t do otherwise” said Advocate Seema who is instructing Senior Counsel Advocate Guido Penzhorn.
The former minister and currently a Member of Parliament for Likhetlane Constituency is charged of siphoning over M18 million benefitted by Temo-’Moho Farmers Agricultural Association in a block farming scheme.
The judge admitted the accused was entitled to a fair hearing which would only be possible upon sufficient preparations by the defence counsel.
Opposing the postponement ,Penzhorn yesterday argued there were two contradicting sworn statements made by Thahane seeking the case be heard on 2-3 December 2014 while another requested the hearing to proceed in February next year. The affidavits were made on November 22 and attested to by defence instructing Attorney Qhalehang Letsika.
Penzhorn contested that the defence counsel Advocate Ntsebeza, SC, relied in his application for adjournment on legal principles of fair trial as enshrined in the Kingdom’s Constitution and not on facts as evidenced by the two statements.
Penzhon informed the court that the state was ready to proceed with the hearing agreed on by both defence and prosecution on November 11th, 2014.
Advocate Ntsebeza, who had just emerged from South Africa’s Marikana Commission on slaying of 34 miners, reasoned that such an adjournment would enable enough time to prepare for representation of Thahane properly.
Arguing he only had 10 hours to consult with Thahane, Ntsebeza said such preparation was underpinned by the fact that his client was eager to have the trial finalised within a reasonable time in order for justice to be done.
Thahane’s legal team consists of Ntsebeza, Advocate Mpati Dofa of Johannesburg Bar and the instructing Attorney Letsika.
newsline365.wordpress.com is an initiative by a veteran journalist and media development advocate in Lesotho Tsebo Mats’asa. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lesotho faces enormous challenges of shortage of staff to ensure compliance of extractive operations with environmental laws and regulations.
According to Lehlohonolo Chefa of the Policy Analysis and Research Institute of Lesotho (PARIL) Lesotho’s department of environment has three experts to monitor environmental impact of mining activities.
“There is need for more experts at the department of environment to implement laws and regulations on environmental protection,” said Chefa during a recent conference aimed at strengthening civil society organisations’ participation in extractive operations.
In order to overcome this, PARIL recommended that there be established a national environmental and mining authorities to oversee the sector. The institute warned that through ownership of the mines, the government can ensure local communities, investors and companies benefit from the resource endowment.
The Government of Lesotho is in the process of finalising a mining policy in line with the African Mining Vision with a goal of creating “transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development.
Nigerian and Ghanaian communities in Lesotho distanced themselves from allegation of their nationals being investigated by police of mercenary activities.
At the press conference in Maseru a few minutes ago, minister Kayode E. Oguntuase from Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria in South Africa said they were seriously disturbed by media reports about their alleged nationals who were reported to have entered Lesotho on a mission to assassinate King Letsie III, Prime Minister Tom Thabane and Minister Thesele Maseribane.
Oguntuase said as Commonwealth member like Lesotho, Nigeria was determined to ensure peace and stability in Lesotho.
“A mention of our people contributing in criminal acts has raised huge concern to the government of Nigeria”, so said the minister appealing to the media to avoid placing their citizens’ lives in jeopardy.
Backing the minister, Joachim Iyke Monyeh who is the President of the Nigerian community in Lesotho appealed to law enforcement agents to be factual when realizing information to the media.
At the same event the public relations officer senior inspector Thato Ramarikhoane confirmed that the police were investigating alleged mercenaries who had entered Lesotho with intention to commit crimes. However, he dismissed identity of the alleged mercenaries as neither Nigerians nor Ghanaians.
The Ghanaian community was led by Ghana Honorary Consul Frank Baffoe who warned the media of negative reporting saying it endangered Nigerians and Ghanaians leaving in Lesotho.
The press conference was held with advice of the AFP reporter Michael Jordan who published a story that Lesotho police were hunting alleged Nigerians and Ghanaians ‘mercenaries’ who had entered Lesotho.
Speaking at the conference that was attended by about 30 Nigerians and Ghanaians of different professional fields, Jordan said was apologetic of the consequences of the story on the local Nigerian and Ghanaian community, but he stood by his story as he got information from credible sources.
First published by the AFP, the story was run by local media with print taking greater toll.
The Director of Elections Mr. Mphasa Mokhochane of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in Lesotho has been suspended over missing registration machines, as the government realizes M30 million (US$3 million) of the needed M250 million (US$25 million) budget for the February 2015 polls.
Last week the IEC told the media and political party leaders of disappearance of 21 laptops of the Mobile Registration Units (MRUs). 11 more laptops could not be accounted for. There were 611 MRUs bought for the 2012 general elections’ voter registration and the same machines must be used in the voter registration in preparation for upcoming general assemble elections.
According to the IEC Chairperson Justice Mahapela Lehohla suspension of the director will provided for conducive environment for investigation on the disappearance of the machines.
While the IEC reported that it was assured by its Information Technology Department that the disappeared machines will not affect the commission’s operations, the Chairperson suspects sinister motive behind disappearance of the machines.
Voter registration has started in the country to prepare for the elections that were brought forward from 2017 to February, 2015 as agreed by Lesotho political party leaders in an agreement reached under SADC mediation to the current political situation in Lesotho.
Maseru – Lesotho has secured assignments for two of the three of its security chiefs placed on leave of absence for unspecified duration sparking delight on SADC mediation facilitator Cyril Ramaphosa.
Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is to be engaged at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia as defence advisor on troubled South Sudan with its neighbour Sudan.
Commissioner of Police Khothatso T’sooana is tasked for engagement in an anti-terrorism effort in Algeria as police advisor while a programme of assignment for Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli in Uganda is not yet known.
Lesotho’s ministry of defence Principal Secretary Thato Mohasoa told the state radio the departure of the three security officers was a fulfilment of the Maseru Security Accord that facilitated departure from normal duty by the officers signed last month.
The implementation of the agreement is to normalise relations between the country’s army and the police, said Mohasoa today.
The three security officers left Lesotho on Friday after SADC mediation facilitator Cyril Ramaphosa held talks with tripartite coalition leadership led by Prime Thomas Thabane.
Ramaphosa returns to Lesotho this week delighted with the country’s implementation of the Maseru Security Accord which he regards as measure to ensure that peace prevails.
Also South Africa’s deputy president, Ramaphosa jets into the kingdom for the first time since the start of the leave of absence of three senior officers.
It’s a huge milestone that builds confidence to ensure security is in place ahead of next year’s general election, Ramaphosa told the South African Broadcasting Corporation Saturday. He said “many people believe Lesotho can go to election now that security chiefs have left.”
Under heavy guard, Lieutenant General Kamoli travelled out of Lesotho by road to neighbouring South Africa.
During the three officers’ absence, Major General Khoantle Motsomotso and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Masupha Masupha will hold fort within the LDF and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) respectively.
Lesotho heads to the brought forward parliamentary poll in February 2015 from the 2017 date agreed in a Maseru Facilitation Agreement signed by among others opposition leaders recently.